Monday, January 29, 2007

NPR "Second Life"

This radio clip summarizes the relatively new online community of Second Life, a website where users log into a free downloaded program, create an avatar, and live a cyber-life. Weary are the creators and users of others viewing SL as a game, that it is not. User of SL use 'little building blocks' to create everything they see in the virtual world, and can interact with other users by way of instant messaging. Second Life includes virtual real estate, which can be bought using Linden dollars, a form of currency that can be freely exchanged with the US dollar! If I'm not mistaken Adam Pasick, the chief of Reuters Second Life bureau, claimed the Second Life economy is circulating a half a million Linden dollars a day. This virtual reality offers a social as well as professional community that people are "able to actually experience," explains President of Lichtenstien Creative Media, Bill Lichtenstien. "Up until now," he continues, "[these feelings of experience] couldn't be conveyed through film, television, or the Internet." One caller during the segment, Cami, holder of a communications weblog and SL user, told of the opportunity this program offered her to communicate with others around the world. She thinks its a great tool for collaboration, and believes similar technologies will eventually be incorporated into other web technologies to make them more effective. Another caller Connie thought this was a disgusting waste of time, when users could be putting the creative energy they use there into the real world. Mr. Lichtenstien protested by explaining that this was simply a form of media, and better at that than most other forms. At first I agrees with Connie, but after hearing what Mr. Lichtenstien had to say I'd tell her, protest Second Life, and you must protest all media as being a waste of time. Personally I think that this and similar programs could take the academic and professional world to a new level, though I think that some parts, such as buying yourself a cyber-ride might be a bit worthless. The fact that it offers instant collaboration and interactivity around the globe, coupled with these feelings of experience that are all new to media, the usability of this program I believe could grow exponentially. An interesting thing I just heard about last night, that was briefly mentioned in the radio segment, is a similarly interactive web browser. A friend was telling me he was having this all new program for windows installed on his PC that included something like this. I can't wait until I can check this browser out first hand, for me it offers the usefulness of SL, with out the 'wasted time.'

Pasick, Adam, and Bill Lichtenstien. "A Second Life to Live." NPR 24 Oct. 2006. 29 Jan. 2007 -

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